Don’t Get Scammed When Using A Tree Service
The majority of Acadiana do not get a full blown assault from Hurricane Isaac, but for those who have downed trees, getting someone to come out and take them away can be a hassle.
The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana has several things they think you should keep in mind so that you do not get overcharged, get poor service or no service. They remind you that you need to be treated in a professional and fair manner.
Here are some suggestions from the BBB for finding a reputable tree service:
- Be sure to check with the BBB. BBB Business Reviews will show how long a company has been in business as well as any past history of complaints.
- Hire a professional
- Ask your neighbors, friends, co-workers, dentist, etc. for their experiences.
- Start with trust at www.bbb.org for a list of trustworthy businesses in Acadiana.
- Get several bids in writing. Make sure you discuss the bid with the provider. Do not automatically choose the lowest bidder.
- For large projects, ask the tree service how many projects like yours he/she has completed in the last year. Ask for several local references—and follow through on checking them.
The Better Business Bureau says you should be sure to ask the following questions:
- Can I visit your home to see the completed job?
- Were you satisfied?
- Was the work completed on time?
- Did the contractor keep you informed along the way?
- Were there unexpected costs?
- Did workers show up on time?
- Did they clean up afterward?
- Would you recommend the contractor?
- Would you use the contractor again?
The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana says to protect your home and business you need to be sure to ask about whether or the not the company has workers compensation insurance and coverage for property damage and personal liability. They also say you mast ask to see the contractor's license, and make sure it is current.
One of the big things the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana wants to think about avoiding are tree services that go door to door looking for work. They point out those types of visit can make you uncomfortable. You can feel rushed into making a decision. Here is a scenario they say often is used:
Often, tree service companies going door to door will frequently say, “We just did some work for some of your neighbors,” but are usually vague on the details. This is also not an appropriate setting to discuss price, specifics and timing because, often, they want to make a deal on the spot. When confronted with this situation, never pay up front, especially if you are not given company information, price lists, etc. and you don’t know if it is a reputable company. Often, it is difficult contact the business if there is a problem and unfortunately these situations have also led to homes being cased for a future burglary.
They say you can also be the victim of a "bait and switch" scam. The BBB says fliers can be left at your door that don't list important information need for a real quote for the work to be done at your home. You may be quoted one price and charged another price that is much higher.
The BBB says Beware of a tree service that does the following:
- Has no printed materials, letterhead, bid forms, etc.
- Is vague about his formal credentials as an arborist.
- Offers an unusually low price . . . at first.
- Only accepts cash payments, and/or asks for payment up front.
- Pressures you for an immediate decision.
- Offers you a discount to find other customers.
- Has no physical address
The BBB suggests that you:
- Get the estimate in writing. An estimate should be given only after an onsite inspection. Companies that quote a price without a visual inspection cannot be sure of the scope of the work involved and consumers run the risk of paying more than they were quoted. The estimate should include all labor, clean-up and disposal charges.
- Carefully read through your contract. A contract should clearly state the services you will receive, as well as when the job is expected to be completed, payment terms and conditions, contact information for the company and any refund or cancellation policy.
- Verify insurance coverage. Tree care can be dangerous if not done by properly trained experts. Confirm that company has insurance that covers worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents.
Any complaints or questions that you need attention for, you can go to the BBB website.